What people did right
Grieving people are a tough crowd…we get upset easily, we seem to hate almost everything people say to us, we see the world so differently than those around us that it sometimes leaves little room for shared experience.
In this blog, I have give many examples of awful things people say and do but what about the good stuff? What about the totally amazing, funny, considerate, dear things that people come up with?
Here I offer examples from my experience, but I invite you to share what wonderful things others did for you (or someone you love).
The first act if kindness I benefitted from was my daughter’s best friend’s parents coming to the house to tend her needs while I dealt with the ambulance/police/funeral people coming into our home – it was all so traumatizing for everyone and I had no emotional or physical capacity to nurture or help her in that storm of events.
The tradition of giving food to grievers was helpful as I really hate cooking in my very best moment, so the food brought by the first person to arrive (one of my Perinatal Hospice moms) was very welcome.
The second person to arrive (also a Perinatal Hospice mom) brought a big box of Benadryl and 4 boxes of Kleenex. She then followed my request to go into Dave’s office (me doing that task which would have given me a breakdown at that very moment) to find important documents we needed.
I could only eat pudding for 4 days and 3 of the moms I had cared for in the past supplied me with pudding. To say that I love these women would be quite an understatement.
Another friend arrived with a CARLOAD of groceries and not just any groceries; WEGMANS groceries with wonderful foods that fed my family for days. She got basic staples and wonderful treats…I was using the butter weeks later and thinking of her and her amazing kindness. (Wegmans is a US grocery chain that is so full of various food and restaurants that if were ever going to be stranded somewhere in the universe, I hope it is in a Wegmans)
Not everything cost money. In our tradition, prayers for the newly deceased and their family are valued over everything. Knowing that there were people out there keeping me, my kids, Dave (I know that praying for recently deceased people is not part of most traditions, but that is a topic for another day) and his extended family in prayer was like an ever present security blanket.
Lawn mowings, yes lawn mowing was a welcome kindness, especially because my husband had done that task right up to his death.
A woman I had never met (but we have many mutual friends) came by with a dinner even though she had to juggle her 6 kids to cook it and drive it across town. Sacrificial kindness.
This is very unusual and never to be expected, but it was kind, helpful and REALLY nice. A childhood friend of my late husband is a very successful man in a successful couple and they bought us the 6 plane tickets we all needed to fly home to bury Dave. They additionally gave us other funds via an account set up by a banker friend. In total, their contribution was over $10,000. We aren’t poor and there was life insurance but I was a single mom with 5 dependents (at the time) and my job only offers me part-time hours, so it was very appreciated.
It doesn’t, however, take $10,000 to be kind…I was struck by the creativity in this: on the day of the funeral, a friend bought my then-16 year old a pile of tabloid magazines (including some teen celebrity ones). We all know that this stuff is mind rotting and that was the point, she needed a DISTRACTION and this one was harmless and really cute.
The image from the Virginia funeral (we had a Montana one too) that will stick in my mind forever is Cathleen and Vicky dumpster diving for my daughters retainers. Someone had thrown them away by accident (they were on a plate that wasn’t supposed to be trashed) and by the time we missed them the trash was in a dumpster. My friends were so sensitive to meeting our needs (whatever they were) that their fancy-lady-selves just dove right in. Wouldn’t that make you feel loved?
Please share the kindest thing done for you in your grief…
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